Restaurants in Israel
Over the years, restaurants in Israel have gone well beyond the classic Middle Eastern and Mediterranean staples of falafel and shwarma (rotisserie meat) sandwiches. Most restaurants offer some level of kosher dining, so you may notice menus that offer dairy (like the fabulous local cheeses) or meat (just no pork)— but not both. Around Tel Aviv and near the beaches, you're more likely to find shellfish. Here are some of the best restaurants in Israel:
Darna. This Jerusalem eatery is acclaimed among Israel restaurants for expertly creating Moroccan cuisine and ambience, catering to the large Moroccan Jewish community that lives here.
Catit. This bold Tel Aviv restaurant showcases creative Israeli cuisine in multicourse gourmet meals—perhaps starting with calamari stuffed with lamb, and ending with an excellent version of the local dessert, the cheese pastry kadaif.
Bardak. It may not taste quite like the pies back in the States, but this cozy, friendly pizza-and-beer joint offers a great take on pizza Jerusalem-style.
Mantras. This popular restaurant in Jerusalem offers a Euro mix of Italian and French foods, s well as tapas, seafood and homemade bread. Just be sure to reserve ahead of time—or just come for a late dinner.
A wide variety of Middle Eastern-inflected seafood, served on a terrace steps from the Mediterranean.
Little Prague exults in a wonderful version of the Czech classic veprove koleno—a marinated and slow-roasted pork knuckle with a hint of rye, which in the hands of the chef is flaky and light. There is also a heroic schnitzel and excellent Staropramen and dark Kozel beer on tap.
Char-grilled seafood of all types.
In Israel, chickpea spread is sustenance, scooped up with freshly baked pita along with a whole constellation of condiments. At Ali Karavan (a.k.a. Abu Hassan), toppings range from foul (fava beans) and boiled eggs to sharp pickles.
The Mal’enkaya Rossiya (Little Russia) delicatessen has everything you need to re-create a serious Russian table in the Middle East.
An Italian restaurant on vibrant Rothschild Boulevard.
Tel Aviv was woefully lacking in quality kosher restaurants until the arrival of this upscale fish-and-dairy establishment in the city’s industrial center.